LOS ANGELES -- Juan Uribe had to push him up the top step, but he did it.
Clayton Kershaw took a loud curtain call for the Dodger Stadium faithful Friday night, after the latest -- and last -- in his remarkable string of dominant regular-season starts helped the Dodgers to a runaway 11-0 win over the Colorado Rockies.
Kershaw's next start will be Thursday, in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.
"It's one thing to have individual success on a losing team," he said. "To have it on a team going into the playoffs is special."
The Dodgers (92-68) scored early and often Friday. They put up four runs in the first inning off Rockies starter Collin McHugh on five hits and an error, then another run on an Adrian Gonzalez homer in the third, three more on a Carl Crawford homer in the fourth and two more on an A.J. Ellis homer in the fifth, before Mark Ellis capped the night with an RBI single in the sixth.
The total output was the Dodgers' highest since Aug. 7, when they put up 14 on the road at St. Louis, where they could be beginning their playoff run Thursday.
With his six-inning, eight-strikeout effort, nicely closing up his likely NL Cy Young-winning campaign, Kershaw finished with a 1.83 ERA, the lowest for an major league starter since Pedro Martinez's 1.74 mark in 2000.
He also became the second Dodger to post a sub-2.00 ERA since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1958. The first? Sandy Koufax.
"It's just been an amazing season," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "If we could have got this guy some runs, he might have won 25, 26 games."
Instead, Kershaw won 16, which teammate Zack Greinke could tie in his final start today. Nine other starters have won 16 or more games this season, including Baltimore's Chris Tillman, who has nearly doubled Kershaw's ERA at 3.62.
Rookie sensation Yasiel Puig left Friday's game early after he fouled two balls off his left foot, one in the first inning and one in the fifth.
X-rays on his left shin were normal, and he is expected to start one of the team's final two games.
ETHIER STILL QUESTIONABLE
Andre Ethier is on the Matt Kemp rehab plan.
The Dodgers sent Ethier to their training facility in Arizona on Friday to get at-bats in a simulated game setting while he remains unable to get live action because of a sprained left ankle.
Ethier, who hasn't started a game since Sept. 13, had roughly 15 at-bats and did some straight-ahead running at the team's complex in Glendale, and he'll remain there this weekend.
"It's a similar situation to what we were doing with Matt," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "We're basically trying to get him as many at-bats as we can so he can get the timing part without the running part."
Ethier's status for the National League Division Series remains in serious question, but the Dodgers have not officially ruled him out. Mattingly said the team plans on having him return to Los Angeles on Monday night.
Ethier had one at-bat last weekend in San Diego and struck out on three pitches, hobbling after one of his missed swings. He has yet to be able to successfully run the bases.
"The thing that's hurt him is the turns," Mattingly said. "So they really don't want to do any turns until they have to. Just trying to allow maximum time for this thing to let it heal."
Other injury concerns include left-hander Chris Capuano, who had missed three weeks nursing a groin strain before appearing in Friday's game, and shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
Ramirez rested Friday, as the Dodgers continue to monitor his health, and is likely to sit Sunday's finale, too.
"I think he'll accept all of this knowing that it gives him a chance to play every day (in the playoffs)," Mattingly said.
Left-hander Paco Rodriguez entered September holding an 11-inning scoreless inning spanning a full month.
But in September, he has permitted four runs in just 42/3 innings, including the winning homer in Thursday night's loss to the San Francisco Giants.
That has prompted a lot of workload questions, as Rodriguez has made 75 appearances in his first full professional season.
He downplayed those Friday, saying the worsening results are a product of a minor mechanical issue, not overuse.
"In the beginning, I was throwing a lot, and I was doing good, so nobody really said anything," he said. "Now that I'm struggling a little bit, everybody wants to change everything up, and that's fine, because I felt it myself. It was a matter of making adjustments, and I think they've helped out a lot. My arm feels good."
MINOR LEAGUE STARS
The Dodgers selected Double-A right-hander Zach Lee and High-A outfielder Scott Schebler as their Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year.
They'll be honored in an on-field ceremony before Sunday's regular-season finale.
Lee was the Dodgers' high-profile 2010 first-round pick and is a rotation candidate for 2014. Schebler was drafted in the 26th round the same year but only recently emerged as a top-20 prospect in the organization.
Mattingly, asked how he feels about the first-round series being best-of-5 instead of best-of-7, said: "Five's short. But it's better than the wild card, and better than Russian roulette."...
Infielder Nick Punto was scratched Friday because of an ingrown toenail on his right foot. He was replaced by Dee Gordon, who Mattingly said is under consideration for the playoff roster as a pinch-runner. ...
Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter released a statement on Commissioner Bud Selig confirming his January 2015 retirement: "Speaking as a lifelong fan of the game, Bud Selig's love of baseball, its players and fans had always been obvious," Walter said. "Now, as an owner of one of the sport's most storied franchises, I can see that his respect for the integrity of the sport, its beauty and nuances are even more evident in every carefully considered decision he's made."
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